To this ruling class, the rest of the country is sometimes an annoyance or obstacle, sometimes a source of necessary funds or votes, but always the “other” — not our kind, dear. Too ignorant, too unpolished, too unconnected to the right institutions and pieties to really count. With ruling-class Republicans having more in common with ruling-class Democrats than with the people they rule, it’s unsurprising that, as Codevilla predicted in a later essay, millions of voters feel orphaned. Democracy doesn’t do much for technocratically set policy that always seems to reflect ruling-class preferences, and people feel they’ve lost control of their own fates.
Of course, orphaned voters aren’t a bug but a feature for a ruling class that would prefer to rule without them. But in a democracy, which America still is, voters don’t stay orphaned forever.
In this election cycle, Trump and Sanders have come forward to claim the orphaned vote. It’s very likely that, this time around, the ruling class will manage to put orphaned voters back in the political orphanage by the time Election Day rolls around next year.
But the orphans will still be there, still longing for someone powerful enough to give them a voice.